Using Mindfulness to Remedy Anxiety and also Depression

Feeling trapped in your own mind can be a very scary, frustrating, and unpleasant feeling, and something that many people with anxiety experience. I’m someone who battles chronic and often acute anxiety and have done so for nearly 20 years, and during that time I’ve often been a prisoner of my own thoughts. It’s a lonely place that triggers more anxiety.

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8 Symptoms of Being Trapped in Your Own Thoughts
1. Indecisiveness

2. Procrastination

3. Overthinking Everything

4. Being Emotionally Reactive

5. Sleep Problems

6. Poor Concentration

7. Tension and Sore Muscles

8. Not Making Time for Relaxation  

How to Stop Feeling Trapped?
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1. Practice being mindful. Sit. Only focus on the breath.  

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an established program shown to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Mindfulness is the most effective technique that helped me to finally get out of my head, and I cannot recommend it enough. Practicing mindfulness trained my mind to focus on the present moment, which is the only moment where I was able to experience fewer thoughts, no thoughts, and calmness.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. – Amit Ray, mindfulness leader and author of several popular books on mindfulness

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2. Get fresh air to clear your mind by immersing yourself in nature
Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature

In a previous study, time in nature was found to have a positive effect on mood and aspects of cognitive function, including working memory, as well as a dampening effect on anxiety. Study finds that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce risk of depression.—Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

3. Release your thoughts by journaling or talk therapy
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Keeping a journal helps you create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos. You get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts, and feelings. Look at your writing time as personal relaxation time. It’s a time when you can de-stress and wind down. Write in a place that’s relaxing and soothing.—University of Rochester Medical Center

Looking Onward and Upward

looking upwardIt’s August already…Spring and Summer went by quickly. Autumn is approaching and is typically the time of endings (gardening, summer sports, vacations, and the Fair); but I’d rather think of it as new beginnings. So many new classes start up in the Fall. Whether it is credit related or simply for enjoyment, the community offers so many options. In addition to my mental health and resiliency related coursework, I’ve also signed up for arts (pointillism, surrealism, and expressionism) and crafts (Fused Glass Studio & Combining Thrown and Handbuilt Pieces) type classes. Being located in Eden Prairie offers the benefit of both local arts classes plus nature-based classes at the University of Minnesota’s Landscape Arboretum in nearby Chanhassen where there are a restaurant, art gallery, gorgeous gardens,  hardy woodlands, wetlands and spectacular prairies to hike through on their 12.5 miles of paths. I really enjoy stress free time here in addition to their lecture series.

The last class that I took there was Therapeutic Horticulture where we learned about biophilia (the instinctive connection between humans and nature) and different therapies for a variety of illnesses or disorders. That class on the psychological orientation towards nature was for credit. This time around I’ll be taking Make and Take Stone Sculptures and Autumn Botanical Arrangements as well as an August class in Fire in the Garden Grilling (Beyond the Barbequed Burger) and hopefully some “greenlist” classes which are spur of the moment type class offerings that occur within the day or week of being posted. These classes don’t even make it into the calendar because they are so short notice. I prefer them because less people show up. However, I do like getting lost in a crowd where others are the center of attention.

These classes are so inexpensive with membership plus they help one socialize in a structured atmosphere which I prefer because then I don’t necessarily have to speak when I don’t want to; instead, it is instructor driven with question and answers, usually by only a handful of the participants. I really enjoy that plus it benefits me with my schizophrenia in that I get to use fine motor skills, as well as the socialization factor and the fact that I have to sit still for a prolonged period of time. Staying still is a difficulty for me but I’m working towards a solution with these classes plus I hope these will decrease my overt/positive (delusions, hallucinations, and social disinhibition) symptoms even more so that I can be listed as in remission (six months symptom free w/ the aid of medications).

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